Take a break from these food and farming video games

I love a good farming video game, I love the sense of pride I get when I get up at dawn to clean a barn and plant crops without having to, you know… get up at dawn to clean a barn and plant crops. there is also something meditative on immersion in a game this implies that you mainly do household chores. The repetitive tasks of farming, fishing or cooking allow your brain to slow down and relax, all with the joys and rewards that come with watching your player gain experience and skills .

In short, it’s a perfect winter activity. It always helps to have a new game to pass the time, especially if you live in an area facing another lockdown related to COVID or similar restrictions. In that case, check out one of these headlines and watch your virtual farm grow.

Try your hand at (virtually) driving a grape harvester. Photo courtesy of Farming Simulator.

Farming Simulator 22

You may have heard the hype surrounding Agriculture simulator. the the game series is extremely popular, and the latest edition often has more people playing on Steam, an online game streaming service, than popular first-person shooter games such as Battlefield 2042.

Agriculture simulator is… an agricultural simulator. It’s all in the name. And yet, it is so much more. In the game, you can grow crops and sell them, raise livestock, and buy machines, which looks pretty straightforward. But the game is also a bit of a puzzle. There are missions to complete, and if you decide to say, bake a cake, you will have to figure out all the steps to get there. And you could spend over a million dollars to do it.

Gather your friends for a multiplayer harvest! Photo courtesy of Stardew Valley.

Valley of stars

Valley of stars is one of the favorites of the Modern Farmer team, and for good reason. There are endless possibilities for your farm. You start by cultivating your plot of land and then gradually take on other tasks such as caring for animals, searching for ingredients, completing quests, and meeting townspeople. You also have to go underground in the mines to collect rare minerals and fight the flaming zombie hordes. All in one day’s work.

Time in Valley of stars is linear but also endless. There is a calendar that follows four distinct seasons, with different crops growing in each. As you progress through the game and gain more skills, you will be able to craft more useful machines, make more recipes, and even marry one of the villagers if you woo them properly. However, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight for the timeline. So, just like in real life, you can keep working your farm, accumulating years, until you decide to retire.

[RELATED: The Meditative Joys of Farming]

Show off your farming skills in a whole new world. Photo courtesy of Verdant Skies.

Green skies

In this farming simulation, you are part of a new colony on a whole new world, full of people who need to farm the land for their own survival. Think Valley of stars, but with more exploration and relationship building between you and the other settlers.

Of course, you will have to grow crops in your farm plots and level up to find new seeds and new beginnings, but you will also be able to create your own. As you upgrade the machines, you’ll gain access to a Gene Splicer, where you can breed new hybrid crops. You can be a farmer and a mad scientist! In between, you’ll also need to go fishing, decorate your living space, and meet your neighbors.

Buy land and take care of it. Photo courtesy of Forager.

Forage

If you like games that fall on the cute and quirky side of things, take a look Forageous. It’s a two-dimensional game with charming old-fashioned graphics and an open world, which means you can explore at your leisure. You can also choose your own path by exploring the world, becoming a farmer or adventurer, merchant or builder.

As you travel the world, your objective is to collect resources such as plants, minerals, and gold. You will buy land and use your treasures to create tools for working the land, expanding from there. You can advance an area of ​​land or continue to expand to conquer more territory. For a simple game, it has a lot of surprises in its bag and will keep you hooked.

Virtual greenhouses, do you like it? Photo courtesy of Farmer’s Dynasty.

Farmer Dynasty

This game is partly a simulation and partly a role-playing game which means you get a good mix of points of view. You can watch your fields and barns with a bird’s eye view from your handy drone camera, or you’ll drive the action as you watch your avatar hammer nails and shovels through the garden.

In Farmer Dynasty, you are in charge of taking over and rebuilding your grandfather’s farm, and boy, there is a lot to do. From modernizing buildings and upgrading machines to harvesting vegetables in your greenhouse and caring for your animals, you’ll be busy. There are also side quests, like fishing, and a whole open world to explore. If you go out and meet the neighbors, you might just find a partner and start your own family. There is this dynasty that you were working towards.

[RELATED: What Mario Kart Can Teach Us About Equitable Farming]

Pick pumpkins and more! Photo courtesy of Nintendo.

Animal crossing: new horizons

The March 2020 release of Animal crossing meant that the game gained popularity during the early stages of the pandemic, causing shortages on the Nintendo Switch console. This game is a perfect escape fantasy, literally. You start the game by arriving on a desert island, and it’s up to you (and a loyal team of raccoons, who also happen to be your owners) to make things livable. This means you have to plant food and flowers, you have to fish and cut down trees, and you have to terraform the island to meet your needs. All that, and it’s adorable too.

In Animal crossing, the non-playable characters (NPCs) you interact with are all animals with quirks and personalities. You can give and receive gifts from your villagers, and they talk in a baby babble known as Animal, which some have spent hours deciphering. I spent several days during my winter vacation trying to catch snowflakes to make elaborate wreaths, and the clock ticked. And my crown looks delicious.

Race to follow restaurant orders. Photo courtesy of Team17.

Overcooked!

Another series of games, Overcooked! offers an adrenaline rush of gaming, and it can be played with friends. Up to four players (in person or in online multiplayer) take on the challenges offered by the King of the Onion (an onion with a scepter and a crown; he’s remarkably animated) to learn new recipes and save the kingdom.

Players have to work against the clock to complete tasks while running a restaurant. You have to chop the ingredients and cook, wash the dishes and serve the customers, all within a limited time. Ah, but that’s not all. Your restaurant is in the back of a moving truck and sometimes goes down a river on a raft. Sometimes it’s on separate hot air balloons that you have to jump between or on moving platforms. Is it hectic? Yes. Is it fun? Also yes. The newest addition to the series, Overcooked! All you can eat has hundreds of levels to master or try, at least.

Perhaps the finest plate of video game food there is. Photo courtesy of FinalFantasy XV.

Final Fantasy XV

So it’s not strictly a food related game, but it’s safe to say that the food in this game has kind of stolen the show. Not only is it hyper realistic (and honestly, quite appetizing), but playing in the game lets you find new ingredients and inspiration to whip up dozens of distinct recipes.

In the game, you will lead Prince Noctis and his bodyguards on a quest to save his homeland and take back the throne. But while you save the world, you will also search the campaign for new ingredients and food. One of the prince’s guards, Ignis, is the party leader. True master of his art, he is inspired by just about everything. If you find a rare ingredient in your travels, it might have a spark of inspiration. If you stop by the restaurant to eat, Ignis will want to recreate the dishes again. Save the world and stop for a good meal? It’s a win-win.

Watering plants has never looked so good. Photo courtesy of Among the Trees.

Among the trees

Have you ever wanted to throw off the shackles of your everyday life and escape into the woods? Here is your virtual chance. Among the trees Immerse you directly into its world, where you land in a lush forest with nothing but a backpack. As you travel, you collect resources, build a cabin, grow plants, and watch out for predators, like the dangerous bear.

Despite the sorry nature of the game, Among the trees is gorgeous, with colorful scenes and a light, relaxing score. You can first search the forest for food and eventually learn to cook.

You have to be curious and resourceful to survive in the wilderness, but you will be rewarded for your persistence.

Feed your precious succulents. Photo courtesy of Steam.

Viridi

This game is maximum relaxation. Consider going to a spa, on vacation, without worrying about relaxing. This is the game you can come back to over and over again for mindful meditation. Breathe in, breathe out and watch your plants grow.

In Viridi, you grow succulents. Is that it, you ask? Yes, and that is enough. You choose pots and plant starters, and you grow them the way they should. They need light and water, and if you name them, they might even flower. You can get advice on how to care for succulents in the real world, but more importantly, you can set aside time in your day to just be.


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Carolyn M. Daniel